The Central United midfielder was a latecomer to the squad, only making his debut a week ago, but made up for lost time by scoring in the 10th, 36th and 53rd minutes with Jordan Vale’s 87th minute strike making the game safe.
The win is the first for a New Zealand men’s team at a FIFA tournament played outside New Zealand, and the first since the class of 1999 beat Poland in Auckland. The U-17 and U-20 women’s teams each notched wins in 2008 in New Zealand and Chile respectively.
It also gives the Young All Whites a great chance of emulating the 2009 group who qualified for the Round of 16 on the back of three draws in Nigeria.
“It’s a game we targeted to win. We had a plan to achieve that and things went our way,” said New Zealand coach Aaron McFarland.
“Stephen Carmichael turned up on the day but it was a very sound all round team performance.”
The Czech Republic and the USA were due to clash later in the day, and New Zealand’s hopes of qualifying rest on taking at least one point from games against those opponents, beginning with the Czechs on Thursday morning.
McFarland says the opening win would help his side step up against the two favoured teams in Group D.
“We want to get out of the group and even make the quarterfinals. We have to start believing that we are here to win games. I hope this result fuels the players’ belief that they can go out and get another win.
“The confidence will help us. We will watch them play today and work out what they have to offer and craft a plan to try and get another result.”
It took the Young All Whites time to find their feet in the 38 degree heat but a long ball from goalkeeper Scott Basalaj found Tim Payne in the opposition box, whose cheeky attempt at a back header eventually ricocheted out to Carmichael whose angled shot rifled past Ganisher Kholmurodov for a 10th-minute lead.
Payne and Bill Tuiloma had chances to extend the lead but that honour fell to Carmichael with Payne unlocking the Uzbek’s defence and Carmichael tapping home after Kholmurodov saved his initial effort.
In between, the impressive Basalaj produced a superb reflex save to deny Timur Khakimov, who looked a constant threat and netted with a classy shot on the angle in the 39th minute, as well as worrying the kiwi goalkeeper just before half time with a fierce shot that sailed centimetres wide.
Bobir Davlatov thought he had equalised shortly after halftime but the effort was disallowed for a foul on Rhys Jordan and Carmichael compounded the opposition’s misery five minutes later by meeting Howieson’s cross with a crisp finish to complete his hat-trick.
Basalaj produced another fine save to keep out a tricky looping shot from Ravshanjon Haydarov with 18 minutes remaining and Jordan Vale sealed the win with his 87th-minute volley from a Rhys Jordan free kick.
FIFA U-17 World Cup Mexico 2011
Group B
Estadio Torreon
Torreon, Mexico
New Zealand 4 (Stephen CARMICHAEL 10’, 36’, 53’; Jordan VALE 87’)
Uzbekistan 1 (Timur KHAKIMOV 39’)
Halftime: 2-1
New Zealand: 1-Scott BASALAJ (gk), 2-Harshae RANIGA, 3-Stephen CARMICHAEL (11-James DEBENHAM 67’), 4-Reece LAMBERT, 5-Luke ADAMS (c), 6-Jordan VALE, 8-Rhys JORDAN, 9-Tim PAYNE, 10-Cameron HOWIESON (18-Calvin OPPERMAN 74’), 12-Jesse EDGE, 16-Bill TUILOMA (7-Kip COLVEY 77’).
Substitutes not used: 13-Cameron MARTIN, 14-Ryan HOWLETT, 15-Dylan STANSFIELD, 17-Harley TAHAU, 19-Ken YAMAMOTO, 20-Scott ARMISTEAD (rgk), 21-Liam ANDERSON (rgk).
Coach: Aaron McFARLAND
Cautions: Rhys JORDAN 46’, Calvin OPPERMAN 88’
Uzbekistan: 12-Ganisher KHOLMURODOV (gk), 2-Mirzamurod JURABAEV, 4-Ravshanjon HAYDAROV, 5-Asiljon MANSUROV, 7-Azizbek MURATOV, 8-Sardor SABIRKHODJAEV (18-Muhsinjon UBAYDULLAEV 82’), 9-Kholmurod KHOLMURODOV (20-Davlatbek YARBEKOV 57’), 11-Timur KHAKIMOV (10-Nodirhon KAMOLOV 83’), 13-Bobir DAVLATOV, 14-Javlon MIRABDULLAEV, 19-Zabikhillo URINBOEV.
Substitutes not used: 1-Sergey SMORODIN, 3-Sardor RAKHMANOV, 6-Abbosbek MAKHSTALIEV, 15-Jasurbek KHAKIMOV, 16-Khasan ASKAROV, 17-Dior USMANKHODJAEV, , 21-Abdumavlon ABDULJALILOV (gk).
Coach: Aleksey EVSTAFEEV
Cautions: Ganisher KHOLMURODOV 86’
Upcoming matches
New Zealand v Czech Republic
Estadio Torreon
Torreon, Mexico
June 22, 6pm (June 23, 11am NZT)
New Zealand v USA
Estadio Hidalgo
Pachuca, Mexico
June 25, 6pm (June 26, 11am NZT)
Story courtesy of New Zealand Football.
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